Setting Zotero for Linked Files

Welcome to the Zotero 2: Advanced Zotero Workshop

Setting up Linked-Attachments with Zotero and Dropbox (or other cloud storage option)




  • Increase your Zotero “storage” capacity by alternatively linking your Zotero account to attachments stored in your CUNY Dropbox account.
  • To make this possible you need to install a Zotero third-party add-on named Zotfile to move them.



*The Zotero-Dropbox linkage has benefits and a few drawbacks


You should have already taken the Zotero 1 Workshop. If you have questions about how Zotero works, please see this guide:


Please download the prerequisite software (below) in order to set up linked attachments.


This guide should be followed in order of the numbered tabs above.


Dropbox or Other Cloud Storage Account (CUNY Dropbox is free)

Please make sure you have an account with a cloud-based storage service such as Dropbox* or Google Drive

*In this guide I demonstrate using Dropbox.

*CUNY students have a free Dropbox account with a capacity of 15 Gigs. CUNY Faculty get 1 TB.

To claim your free CUNY Dropbox account:

-Navigate to:

-Log in to CUNY Dropbox with your CUNY Login account information (the same information you use to log into Blackboard). Your username should be in this format:

-When it asks you how you want your files to be stored, choose Smart Sync

If you have a personal Dropbox account (or other cloud service account) that you would prefer to use for storing Zotero attachments, you are more than welcome to use that so long as you are able to use the desktop version of it (see next step).  The instructions provided in this workshop (using CUNY Dropbox as an example) should work for you just as well.

Install Desktop Version of Dropbox (or desktop version of other cloud storage service)

Please also make sure to install the desktop version of your cloud-based storage service account (eg: Dropbox Desktop) so that a cloud storage folder is accessible on your computer (less than 3 minutes):

Here are instructions about how to do this with Dropbox:

1) Download the Dropbox desktop application:

2) Once installed, you’ll be prompted to sign in to your Dropbox account.

3) Sign in to your account.

You’ll now have the Dropbox desktop app, a Dropbox icon in your system tray/menu bar, and a Dropbox folder on your computer.

Any changes you make to the Dropbox application are automatically synced to your account on


Here are instructions about how to do this with Google Drive:

How to Switch Between Dropbox Desktop Accounts on your Computer (if necessary)

If you already have a personal Dropbox account accessible on your desktop computer, but want to instead switch to your CUNY Dropbox account (3 minutes):

1) Open the Dropbox App window on your computer (If you are using a Mac, the icon may show up in the upper right corner after opening. Just click on that icon.)

2) Click on your name or organization’s name (it should be in the in the lower left corner), then select Preferences

3) From the menu that opens, select Account

4) Select Unlink this account

5) The next time you try to open Dropbox it will prompt you to sign in

6) Sign in with your Dropbox with CUNYFirst account

7) If you have 2-step authentication enabled you’ll see a button that says get your link code

8) After clicking on the button, a browser window will open where it asks you to log in with your CUNYFirst information

9) After logging in you will be given a code. Copy the code and paste it into your desktop Dropbox window.

10) Choose let admin

11)  Your computer will now have a file connected with the Dropbox account you chose.